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ceasing. The booths are thronged with revelers, laughing and scuffling good-naturedly. Flaxen-haired children chase each other about on the grass. The village band, with its dull-coated old brass instruments and its serious demeanor, blares melodiously while the dancers swing and cavort. An odd-looking, side-whiskered fellow, with a banjo, is singing in a loud, clear baritone the last new American song which has found its way over here, as all popular American songs inevitably do, some time after they have run their course at home; and this singer amuses you no little by his eccentric manner of misfitting the words to the melody, having evidently picked them up somewhere second-hand. At the end of his struggles with the latest imported Americanism, he strikes easily into the familiar ways of the home-made article. At the end of each song he takes off his round-top hat and passes it about among the crowd, who give him pennies liberally, which he receives without shame. In America he would be a "minstrel," and sit in a row with his face blackened, for regular wages, a thoroughly self-respecting person in his place.

The shadows of night creep slowly over the scene, and here and there a torch is lit, but the throng only grows more dense as the hours pass. The races are over, and there is now free admission to the fair; and VOL. XXI.-33.

apparently the entire population of the village is gathering. The picturesqueness of the scene grows stronger as the light of day grows fainter. Indeed, to the stranger every feature in this moving scene is picturesque. The very peddlers are so all the throng of little dealers who thrive by trade; they are utterly unlike the commonplace figures of an American race-course or agricultural fair. Here is one selling walking-sticks; he wears corduroy breeches and a cravat like a shawl, huge and of plaid; and his walking-sticks he carries in a deep old basket of willow cane-a basket shaped like a section of stove-pipe, and almost as dirty with the grime of years and usage. Here is another, peddling so completely ordinary a thing as apples, but looking a unique figure in a long, blue-black apron reaching from his waist quite to his feet, a bright crimson necktie over a checkered shirt, and a vest whose front is yellow, whose back is brown, and whose sleeves (for it is a vest with sleeves) are black.

Deep darkness falls; but the diversions of the pleasure-fair abate no jot. On the contrary, they increase; for all the young folks of the village being now assembled on the green, they not only dance, but play kissing-games full of romping and boisterous merriment. A great circle is gathered in one part of the field, lads and lasses to the number of full fifty joining

hands in the fitful light of the torches, and amid much slapping of backs and frantic scampering, playing cusan-yn-y-cylch, or kiss-in-the-ring. They have had their suppers, and are as full of fun as young colts; and the air echoes with shrieks of laughter mingling with the music of the band, and the rousing smack of rustic lips on rustic red cheeks rivals the popping of the air-guns, where the gaudy shootinggallery glitters in the light of a dozen flaring flambeaux.

When I leave the scene, at ten o'clock, there is no flagging in the sports of the fair. I pass around a winding walk which leads me up to the old ruined castle once more; and, climbing up the worn steps of an olden tower, I look down on the weird, impressive scene, where knights and ladies were used to revel on many such a night as this, 600 years ago. The moon is up, and, lighting the grass-grown floor of the ancient banqueting hall, throws into deeper shadow the dark corners by the crumbling walls. It is easy to imagine ghosts and fairies flitting among these piles of ruin, and if the ghosts of all the dead who, living, have reveled here—who have danced to the music of the harp and pipe, or battled fiercely with besieging enemies through many a bloody struggleif all who have passed beneath yon postern gate were to revisit the glimpses of the moon this hour, there would be a multitude compared to which the living throng below would be a handful. But there are no ghosts abroad. I see here and there dusky forms moving about, but I know they are wanderers like myself, feasting their souls with the poetry of the hour, or else what I confess is more probable-lovers, feeding their hearts on a poetry that is older than these crumbling battlements, and sweeter, while it lasts, than all the melliloquent Welsh englynion that have been sung to the harp since Saliesin lived. And over yonder in the field of Llewellyn I see the torches of the fair, flaring in the moonlight; and there comes faintly to my ear the music of the musicians, still blowing inspiration through their brazen trumpets to the feet of the flying dancers.

Pleasure-fairs are of frequent occurrence in every nook and corner of Wales, and at short intervals throughout the year. The cattle-shows, horse-races, agricultural exhibitions, etc., which we call fairs in the United States-and which as local exhibitions are perhaps the finest in the worldare for the most part confined to the months

of July, August, and September. In the South, as about New Orleans and Memphis, they change this time to May, I believe. But in Wales there is no limit to the time of year for fairs; like death, the fair has "all seasons for its own"; they occur in every month of the year. Notwithstanding the general bad name borne by the climate of the British Isles, that of South Wales is so far tolerable that one may usually enjoy the open air every day the year round. grass is green and the flowers bloom out-ofdoors from January to January again. On the 18th of December, 1877, strawberries were growing ripe in sheltered places along the lanes of Ystradowen, Glamorganshire; and roses grow all winter on the sunny southerly wall of my garden in Cardiff. Yet the climate is not at all enervating; there are storms enough, and snow-storms are among them.



Before large towns existed, where the necessaries of life can be bought in shops, all sorts of goods and commodities were sold chiefly at fairs, periodically held. To these everybody went, and the so-called "great" fairs, like that of Llandaff, were the scene of a prodigious display, to which half the people in Wales would go. The age of Llandaff fair is very great; tradition dates its origin to the first century, A. D. the most prosperous period of its career it was prolonged for many days. Monks and laymen alike came to this fair, sometimes from a hundred miles away. Llandaff church-yard was one scene of buying and selling, in tents and booths. Nowadays, booths are not set up in the church-yard, but they occupy the streets of the decayed cathedral city, even to the very walls of the bishop's palace-Punch and Judy, cheapjohn and all. In the old times, fairs and markets were held on Sunday more often than any other day, and remnants of this custom still exist in Wales. At Llantwit Major, an extremely ancient little town in Glamorganshire, the people have for centuries past gathered for purposes of barter on Sundays, before or after church service, and, unless it has very recently become extinct, this antique custom still prevails.

The moral tone of Welsh towns and villages is notably severe. All respectable people are church-goers, even more so than in America. I am told there are a greater number of Methodists in Glamorganshire than in any other county of its size in the world. The observance of Sunday is rigidly repressive. Even in the metropolis

of Wales, horse-cars do not run on Sunday. Yet the most anomalous customs prevail, like this regarding Sunday fairs. This fair occurs at Whitsuntide, and lasts three days, ostensibly. Whitmonday is the great holiday of Wales; the feast of Whitsuntide is characterized everywhere by fêtes and galas, and a ceaseless round of pleasure; but Whitmonday is the one day of the year when the people go holidaying en masse, as they do at no other time of the year. The great fair of Llandaff legally begins on Monday, concluding on Wednesday night. But in point of fact the revels commence with Sunday. The merrygo-rounds, the Aunt Sallies, the candy booths, etc., are set up, and throngs of people gather. The hammering of the boothbuilders echoes through the aisles of the solemn cathedral where the usual congregation is gathered. The voice of the minister expounding the doctrines of Christianity within the venerable walls which have stood for centuries, mingles with the noisy revelry of the crowd which is gathered on the little green in the heart of the town, close to the cathedral gates. In front of the ruined gatehouse of the ancient episcopal palace the saturnalia proceeds; people lean shamelessly against its very walls, and after nightfall they lean there drunk. All this goes on in defiance of the law, while ostensibly in obedience to it. No cries of hawkers rend the air, but a thriving trade is done in oranges, nuts, and gingerbread, all the same. Keepers of shows surreptitiously take pence and pass people quietly into their tents to see the African serpents, the wax-works, and the rest. As the hours pass, matters grow worse. After dusk, the beer begins to flow, and with the falling darkness the license becomes greater. At midnight there are uncountable crowds on the scene. The following morning the fair ostensibly begins; before noon it is roaring with bustle; Punch and Judy squeak; hawkers howl; exhibitors of curiosities bawl at the highest pitch of their voices. There are curiosities enough here, at least-fat women, living skeletons, wax-works, pigmies, giants, performing dogs and monkeys, an endless array of idle and profitless diversions. Merry-go-rounds whirl their laughing, shrieking freight through the air," warranted to make you sea-sick for a penny." Shooting-galleries, and even perambulating photograph-galleries, are there. "Come and get your picture pulled, Sally," is a favorite form of treat offered their sweethearts by lads of the laboring

class. There is a sparring-booth, before which a burly touter roars with stentorian lungs: "Now then, gents, now is yer time fer to vitness some of the most renowned and scientific and ekally celerbrated crushers of the prize ring; valk right up; in hour establisment we do not vish to 'ave the fun hall to ourselves, ho, dear, no; we allows any gent who feels disposed to put on the gloves to any of hus; yes indeed we does-valk right up, gents; vots more, we offers any gent a shillin' who will do it, hi! hi! now's yer time!" By nightfall the scene becomes a sort of pandemonium. In the most "successful" Whitsuntide fairs of recent years the streets of Llandaff have been given up to a huge mob, crushing and swearing and tearing, and whose only idea of fun was to sustain one prolonged and lingering yell, of a sort to split the ears of the very tenants of the grave-yard close at hand.

Modern influences have served to make the

Whitsunday gathering at Llandaff a scandal, and there is now a strong public feeling at work which may lead to the abolition of the fair entirely. The wonder is that it has not long ago been abolished, for it seems to violate in every way the Welsh character. Some explanation of the contrasts it presents to the more rural pleasure-fairs of Wales may be found in the fact that Llandaff is practically a suburb of Cardiff, where the population is more English and Irish than Welsh, and where also there is constantly a large floating population of foreigners, especially Italians, Frenchmen, Spaniards, Portuguese, etc., of the lower classes. These help to swell the crowd at Llandaff, and to encourage all its most lawless features. The fair is a source of pecuniary profit to one person, namely, the lord of the manor, who "owns" it, as the right is phrased, and naturally objects to its being done away with, especially as he is of a sporting turn, and is accustomed to the moral license of the Derby, a race he has at times won with his own horses. The law by which the Llandaff pleasure-fair can be abolished is so worded that all depends on this gentleman's individual will. The Dean of Llandaff publicly appealed to him in the matter no longer ago than 1876, but without apparent result. The people still gather; but whereas a few years ago they gathered in thousands, they are now present only in hundreds, each year fewer in numbers, and more quiet, gradually giving way to the pressure of public opinion.

Some Welsh fairs combine the original


office of the fair as a place of barter with able consumption of cwrw da; a temperance the idea more common in America, viz., as or teetotal fair would hardly thrive. The an opportunity for competitive exhibition, men are of a certain bearish roughness like our State and county fairs, as we call which would, beyond question, prove uncom them. Of this class are the Welsh horse- fortable to such of us as have been gently shows, flower-shows, Christmas-shows, fat- bred. It would be no joke to the average cattle-shows, poultry-shows, etc., which | reformer of the period, I fear, to have a are sometimes also fairs. Others bear blackthorn cudgel thwacked across his unique names, as Warm Fair, Winter Fair, back, with all the power of an arm accusMidsummer Fair, Martinmas Fair, St. Luke's tomed to farm work, or to be hustled in the Fair, Michaelmas Fair, October Fair, April prodigiously vigorous way the grinning Fair, Dish Fair, Pear Fair, et id genus Welsh peasants at Kidwelly have of shoulomne, a list without an end. They are dering one another in groups, for, a lark. named after the towns, the seasons, the But all this is good-naturedly done. saints, the months, the articles originally would be rough-and-tumble fighting if they sold at them, and the traditions or legends were Irishmen, and whisky had them in its out of which they arose; many of these last clutches; heads would crack, blood would are quaint and interesting in the highest flow, the air would ring with hurroos of dedegree. There is not, indeed, a fair in fiance and debate. But where every man's Wales that has not its history and tradi- face is at a broad grin, where the air echoes tions, its records and strange tales, some but roars of laughter, and half the pushers of which are poetical, some patriotic, others and strugglers have got their hands shoved superstitious. deep down in their pockets-it may be rough, and it might break bones not overlaid with muscle, but it is not likely to do much harm. Beer is not a quarrelsome beverage, at least in Wales; it moves a Welshman's feet to dancing, not his fist to mauling. and he grins instead of growls. The Cambrian proverb is, “Al wedd calon cwrw da" (good ale is the key of the heart). Having stood waiting in the market-place till they have found masters who will pay them for the coming year the small wages they demand, and so laid out for themselves twelve months of good hard work, Sion and Mairi feel like celebrating their success. when the shades of evening fall, the serious work of the day being done, the merriment waxes furious. The streets are so densely thronged with people that it is almost impossible to move among them. Vehicles cannot go about at all, and this is not attempted. Torches light up the scene; drums beat; hawkers and cheap-johns bawl; Punch and Judy add their squeaking to the ain; and any Mairi or Catti whose waist is not encircled by the arm of a Twm or Sion, is a reproach to the traditions of her race. The "fair-day arm" of a Welsh hiring-fair is said to be an entirely unique feature, by persons who have visited fairs in Ireland, Scotland. | Cumberland, Lancashire, etc. Annexation is the common lot, and every Catti has her own. Thus amicably linked, the couples rove about, side by side, laughing, chaffing, chuckling, roaring at Punch, hustling and shouldering each other in merriest kind; while down upon the noisy scene looks with

The only sort of fair I ever heard of which is not included in the Welsh domain, is the fighting-fair. The last of these was Donnybrook, the abolition of which almost broke as many Irish hearts as its existence formerly broke Irish heads. However, they say Llandaff pleasure-fair comes something near the idea of a fighting-fair, when any stray "swells" from Cardiff take a fancy for strolling out there about midnight to see the sights. The oi polloi have been known to display pugilistic and pugnacious qualities of a pronounced character, under this specially distasteful provocation.

The hiring-fair is a peculiar institution, which still lingers in Wales. But this, too, is a relic of ancient days, which will not much longer exist, for it is exciting the active animosity of the better sort of farmers and country gentlemen. From time immemorial, the custom has been to hold these fairs in every important center of a farming district, their sole purpose being to bring servants and masters together. To these fairs troop men and maidens in vast numbers, on fun and profit both intent. To them also troop the farmers, in search of the human toilers on their farms for the coming year. Sometimes, and originally I believe always, these hiringfairs were held on Martinmas-day, known as the servants' saint's day. At present the hiring-fair is not confined to that day, but is held on different days in different towns, usually in either October or November. At these fairs there is undoubtedly a consider


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